More of the same
Another season, another rushing attack that ranks among the nation’s best for Air Force. Of course, the Falcons do it with a triple option that’s rare in today’s college football, making it difficult for defenses to prepare for. Four Falcons have rushed for at least 450 yards with junior running back Kadin Remsberg (843) leading the way. QB Donald Hammond III leads the Falcons with 10 rushing TDs. And sophomore fullback Timothy Jackson is averaging the most yards per carry (6.1) among the foursome. It’s yet another backfield full of weapons that will test a Wyoming defense that’s allowing fewer than 94 yards a game on the ground.
With injuries depleting Wyoming’s backfield depth in recent weeks, freshman quarterback Levi Williams was inserted as part of a rotation with Tyler Vander Waal against Colorado State. He had 13 carries for 49 yards, including the go-ahead TD sneak in the second half, and accounted for 74 yards. He attempted only two passes and completed both of them. Williams will play again Saturday, and with Vander Waal still dealing with a sore ankle, he could see his role increase against the Falcons. The maximum number of games Williams can play in at this point is three, so the Texas native won’t lose a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s revised redshirt rule.
Going for eight
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The win over Colorado was Wyoming’s seventh this season, locking up a bowl bid for the Cowboys in the process. Wyoming could improve its standing in the Mountain West’s bowl pecking order with an eighth win Saturday. It would match the most wins in a season for Wyoming during Craig Bohl’s tenure. The Cowboys have won eight games twice before under Bohl. The last time was the 2017 season, which they capped with a Potato Bowl win over Central Michigan.
In order to get win No. 8, Wyoming will have to do something it hasn’t done all season -- win a conference game outside of War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys are 0-3 against league foes on the road and have won just once all season away from home. That was a 23-14 win at Texas State back in Week 2. Wyoming has been close, though. The Cowboys’ three conference losses have come by a combined 12 points. Wyoming had a lead in the fourth quarter in two of them.
Xazavian Valladay has had to be a workhorse given all the attrition in the Cowboys’ backfield (Trey Smith and Titus Swen are still out), and Wyoming’s sophomore running back has delivered. Even with a sore knee, Valladay ran for 154 yards on 27 carries against Colorado State, giving him his fifth straight 100-yard game. The last time he didn’t crack the 100-yard mark was Oct. 12 against San Diego State when he had 73 yards on 16 carries. Valladay is up to 1,023 rushing yards and six total TDs as he tries to extend his streak of 100-yard games.
This series has been a hotly contested one over the years with Air Force holding a 28-25-3 all-time edge. Wyoming has won the last three meetings, including last season’s come-from behind 35-27 victory at War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys won the last meeting at Falcon Stadium, 28-14, in 2017. Each of the last five meetings have been decided by two possessions or fewer.